Length: 10.600 cm
Height: 9.400 cm
Excavated by Hormuzd Rassam
Room 55: Mesopotamia
Stone lion's head
Neo-Assyrian, about 680-670
From Sippar, southern Iraq
Part of the decoration of a temple
This lion's head of white limestone
comes from the Temple of
This head, which was originally inlaid, bears a worn inscription naming the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (680-669 BC) and his father Sennacherib. It is not clear, therefore, whether this is a Babylonian or an Assyrian piece. Esarhaddon was responsible for restoring the capital city of Babylon following its destruction by Sennacherib in 689 BC.
Lions were regularly represented in Mesopotamian art on wall reliefs and as elements of furniture. The lion represented the power of nature and is often associated with the king, as it was his duty to defeat the forces of nature that the lion represented.
D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
R.D. Barnett, Fifty masterpieces of Ancient (London, The British Museum Press, 1969)